HIV and Human Rights in Africa



One of HRDI's strategic objectives was to contribute to the development of centres of excellence within African university based law clinics that contribute toward discourse within the regional and international human rights institutions.

To this end, HRDI worked primarily with university based law clinics or non-governmental organisations that also work with law students in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, South Africa and Burundi.

We used a multi-disciplinary approach and clinical legal education methodology as far as possible. To this end, the trainers comprised political scientists, social scientists, medical doctors, practising lawyers, law teachers and journalists.

Guest teachers were encouraged to ensure active participation, interactive methods debate and enquiry in the class. We aimed to achieve a balance between philosophical discourse and application of theory to pragmatic circumstances. Further, since egalitarianism is a core value for the HRDI team, we tried to ensure that the power relations within the classroom environment were flattened.

Legal Services

One of the specific objectives of HRDI was to contribute towards the development of human rights jurisprudence particularly within the domestic, regional, community and eventually international human rights enforcement machinery.

The legal services component of HRDI was dedicated to the achievement of this objective. We provided technical legal assistance, for example, we identified legal issues and cause(s) of action, drafted and reviewed court documents, researched regional and international human rights law, researched comparative persuasive jurisprudence and provided legal opinions.

Community Outreach

HRDI's overall goal was to contribute to the protection, promotion and respect for the rule of law and human rights in Africa through increasing access to regional and international human rights forums to the poor and vulnerable groups in society.

The community outreach programme was geared at bridging the gap between the ambitious ideals of international and regional human rights conventions and the people these same conventions seek to protect. These individuals and communities usually lived far away from university law clinics and non-governmental organisations. Consequently the outreach programme aimed at developing strategies which enabled lawyers to go closer to the communities and individuals they sought to serve.